Teaching Greece

I spent several years amassing a library of slides to show in my classes, so I could teach ancient Greece. Then, the school’s slide projector blew, and suddenly I had no way to use the slides. Dumb-ass me, I held on to them, bought a scanner, and started scanning the images.

Now, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I can steal them from other people’s websites, and make use of them in my classroom, thanks to the school’s digital projector. Gods help me if that ever blows. They cost $700 to replace, and a repair on one of them is almost as expensive.

It’s amazing how much good art the Greeks produced, and in a relatively short period of time. Yet so much of their art was dedicated to places like Eleusis, and Delphi, and Olympia, and the Acropolises of so many different cities. Since the city was the be-all and end-all of public life, they lavished their money on the construction of elaborate sanctuaries and tools for the worship of the gods. And what came of it? Nearly nothing.

An article I read recently about the changing demographics of Europe quoted Tony Blair, who reflected on the degree to which power passes, and glory is fleeting. What do you leave behind? he asked, and that’s the question I’m asking myself today, as I sort through borrowed digital images of a fallen civilization.

Oh, yeah. And thanks to the people at SketchUp.com, I have my teacher’s license from them. I spent a fair amount of time creating models of Greek buildings. I have a megaron, a temple, and a theater done up, and I can easily do a few more such structures. What I need to do is create a couple of web-pages for Rob, our tech guy, to post on the school website, so I can 1) demonstrate the usefulness of this program to other teachers, and 2) make my efforts availble to students to play with. I’d like to do that, anyway.

The tools of SketchUp are clearly useful to architects to make some fairly advanced and elaborate designs, but I’m very much a beginner with this program. I know they have some online tutorials, and I may try to do some of those, and build up my mad 3-D skillz. But finding the time may be tricky.

Also, I’m supposed to be teaching ancient Greek mythology as well this marking period, particularly the stories of the heroes and gods… and I have no course plan. I’m screwed, unless I do some planning tonight. Which I guess I’m doing. The 7th grade special class has no plan, either. I’m not sure what to do with them at all.

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